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Download Before You Know Kindness Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Before You Know Kindness Audiobook, by Chris Bohjalian Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,609 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chris Bohjalian Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2004 ISBN: 9781415918432
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For ten summers, the Seton family—all three generations—met at their country home in New England to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family—and the convictions that just may pull it apart. 

Before You Know Kindness is a family saga that is timely in its examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where we find love.

As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters—and absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A dark psychological dance of family estrangements, lies and self-righteousness . . . plenty of finely wrought characters and thought-provoking personal and political drama. The Seattle Times
  • Extraordinary. . . . Bohjalian has had much success in the past, including a selection as an Oprah Book Club author. Before You Know Kindness is better than anything he's written before. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • "Before You Know Kindness may very well be his best. . . . Masterly . . . timely [and] well-wrought. The Boston Globe

  • An irresistible read. Moving from quiet domestic drama to legal thriller. The Washington Post

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura Buechler | 2/20/2014

    " This book reminded me a great deal of Jodi Picoult's novels, in that it sets a family against the backdrop of ethical and moral issues that can either bring them together or tear them apart. I enjoyed reading the story of how an accidental (or was it?) shooting affected all the family dynamics, and even rippled out beyond the family. A quiet but compelling read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 2/12/2014

    " I enjoyed it, but the amount of points of view was a little out of control. Since I am used to Jodi Piccoult's mastery of different voices, Bohjalian's lack was blatant. Characters did not have unique voices, were in a consistently distant third person and not even separated into different chapters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi Bumpus | 2/8/2014

    " I liked the book, but it took me an unusually long time to get through it, particularly the first half. Perhaps it's because I didn't really relate to any of the characters, although they were well-developed. At any rate , others of his books I have kept to reread - this one, I don't believe I will. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 2/3/2014

    " The story is pretty good, but the author gets bogged down in excruciating detail that drove me nuts. A huge section of the book dragged on and on, and it felt like I was stuck in a loop. Plus, he went from extreme chaos to extreme tidiness, which irritated me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paul | 2/3/2014

    " I read this for my Book Discussion Group. Some members loved it, others thought it could have been better. I was in the latter group. It had too many themes going on, and way too much filler. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 1/28/2014

    " I was really excited to read this book because his style of writing and topics are very similar to Jodi Picoult's and it is also one of her favorite authors. However, I really lost interest immediately after the main event of the story occurred. I was pretty disappointed in the storyline. It was really predictable and lost steam after the accident. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 george | 1/27/2014

    " This book cannot compare to Bohjalian's best known work, Midwives. It is, however, a decent read with interesting insight into families and the underlying (and obvious)tensions that ran rampant throughout. Gun control and animal rights are also predominant themes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy Aquila | 1/18/2014

    " Not one of Chris Bohjalian's best. It started out with a bang and then it was easy to lose interest. It should have been 100 pages shorter. He explores the topics of gun control and animal rights and gives the reader lots to think about. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 1/8/2014

    " A solid family novel, with a bit of a mystery and a relatively complex story. Some of the writing was less than smooth (e.g. Te word "abstracted" was used at least three times), but all in all a good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christy | 1/3/2014

    " Stuck with it and I wanted to get better and it never did so slow "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tami Tennyson | 12/25/2013

    " By the author of Midwives, which I also really enjoyed. It took at little while to get into it, but it's got the same kind of tension and legal issues. This one is a debate around animal rights activists vs gun control as it affects one family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 12/20/2013

    " If you are looking for something as rivetting as Midwives, you won' find it in this book. That being said, this isn't a bad read, it is a family drama with likable characters and reminded a bit of Jodi Picoult's family dramas. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina | 12/16/2013

    " I thought this was OK. So much better than Skeletons at the Feast which I found unreadable. This was quite listenable. I could have sworn that I had got the full version from the library but I guess I got the abridged. I don't know if that made it better or not though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Corinne | 10/30/2013

    " For some reason I believe this book was good even though I am somewhat indifferent to it. I think it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy Roudebush | 10/1/2013

    " Our first book club selection...I found it really interesting. It's not always enjoyable to read as I found I didn't like some of the characters. Th ending is a bit "neat", but it does provide satisfaction to the reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christy | 8/8/2013

    " I REALLY need to read Midwives.. and Double Bind.. and Trans-sister Radio! What am I waiting for?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol Hunter | 6/6/2013

    " Chris Bohjalian is a gifted writer who explores the many sides of a family in crisis, due to a shooting....wonderful... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura Lee | 5/5/2013

    " Two families torn apart by an accident. Very sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen Roe | 9/17/2012

    " Everytime I read Bohjalian i find out something new about myself and what I connect with. This author is amazing and all his work is well develop and you can feel him on the page. I appreciate his diversity and understanding of his subjects. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hannah Barry | 8/19/2012

    " Not one of his best. Slow moving, and there is very little suspense. I kept thinking something would happen, and nothing ever did. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 4/14/2012

    " My favorite book by Bohjalian. Gripping from the start and intricate (if I remember correctly...) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paola | 2/27/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book although Midwives is still my favorite. He has an amazing ability to write about people and their inner thoughts and motivations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Burris | 2/10/2012

    " Not the best of Chris'. It took me a long time to read this book and it was story driven rather than character driven. I found it lack the compelling aspects of Midwives and Law of Similars, even Water Witches. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 2/5/2012

    " This was a good book throughout most... I thought it got a little slow at the end... It just went on and on. Overall, it was a book that's had no problem picking up and reading. It just didn't make me want to rush in to read it like other of this author's books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielle | 10/25/2011

    " I didn't love this book but I couldn't stop reading it either. In the end, it was a solid story with all characters learning something about themselves and others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/11/2011

    " Good book, not as good as The Double Bind though. The ending was along the lines of what you expected. Funny thing was that I realized about half way through that I had read it before. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emilee | 5/10/2011

    " The first quarter of this book has a lot of description and seems a little slow-moving, but if you get past that you will understand the characters better and really get into the book. This book really made me think about gun rights and animals rights. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley | 4/5/2011

    " Took a while to get going but I really enjoyed it. Very elegant writing full of social comment and sometimes very funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jodi | 3/8/2011

    " Unfortunately, I thought it was pretty slow reading. I had high hopes for this book but it took a while to get going and once it did, it kept moving at a slow pace with lots of repetition. The ending was, not surprisingly, predictable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teryl | 3/6/2011

    " My first Bohjalian and I was hooked. I love the way he writes and enjoy the moral dilemmas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rsvpeterson | 2/25/2011

    " I liked this book a lot but wouldn't say I loved it for a couple of reasons. I didn't like Chapter Thirty-Five where the author wraps up a part of the story from the viewpoint of a crow. Truly, unbelievable for a dramatic story like this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phebe | 2/18/2011

    " This is a great story revolving around the issue of gun control and family conflict...oops, that sounds bad! Well written as all of his books are and off the beaten path of thinking on the topic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 1/22/2011

    " The first one of his that I read. Good story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 1/12/2011

    " Pretty boring....glad when it was over.

    Family dynamics, vegetarian/vegan movement....taking it too far to where it effects relationships. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leah | 1/5/2011

    " I abandoned this book. It was too slow. Not bad necessarily, just slow. I might go back to it one day. "

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About the Author
Author Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of numerous books, including several that made the New York Times bestselling list. His novel Midwives was a selection of Oprah’s Book Club. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, and three of his novels have become movies: Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers.

About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.